My Toddler’s New Vocabulary: “Gimme, Let Go, Mine, and No”

The title is self-explanatory, but I’ll write a few words anyway…

I LOVE the fact that I am a woman with some privilege living in a country which allows me options.  I chose to get married, we chose to have a baby, and I chose (or given the economy circumstances helped me choose) to utilize my degrees and work outside of my home. O.K. that’s the story for many parents across the U.S.A. I also LOVE the fact that someone is interested in taking care of my child (along with a whole bunch of other children) while I exercise my option to go to a job.

I know we got kindergarten from Germany. And that same reliable source says we got day care from France.  Wherever it came from, I’m grateful for the concept and for the (mostly) women who work in the day care centers.  We are really happy with our day care. We’ve had no problems and they seem to think our child is near-perfect.  He makes them laugh, gives them no trouble, cuddles with them, and even when he’s sick he’s an angel.  So I’m thinking they have cloned my son and send the slightly naughty version home with me in the afternoons and they keep the angel they keep describing to me (please laugh when you read this & don’t take it too seriously).

Had I stayed home with him (because I know myself incredibly well), I would have coddled him to the point that he’d be delayed in all the developmental milestones the child psychologists say he’s supposed to reach at each month of his life.  Seriously, he eats with utensils because the day care teacher (Candy) introduced a spoon to him with solid food while I was still feeding him the mushy stuff.  I’m an educator and a social worker so maybe I would have done better than I give myself credit for, but the day care teachers have been amazing and they have without a doubt contributed to our son’s growth and development. If I didn’t think so I’d stop writing the checks…

So it is with hesitation that I even fix my mouth to voice a complaint.  I am so annoyed and unhappy with the words my son is saying “gimme,” “let go”, “mine,” and the proverbial toddler favorite “no.”  The last one I can live with because I expected it, but the first 3…are you kidding me??? He sounds so self-centered, narcissistic, egotistical, and mean…

One of my sisters-in-law told me not to worry that it’s a phase. Another friend said that’s how the day care center’s teach them to communicate “I’m playing with this, don’t take it from me, you’ll have to wait your turn.”  SO it seems to me that “share please” are two words that could replace the 3 they use now, which I am introducing with little success. He even hands me something on purpose just to be able to tug it away and say “gimme” or “let go.”!!! It’s kind of funny, but not really. I do hope it is a phase because it is not acceptable and annoying.

I want to hear “please,” “let’s share,” “yes,” and “here you go,” and I know I’m asking for too much, but then again isn’t that what moms do?

In Memory of Mothers

This is a spontaneous post as I had not planned to write anything on or about Mother’s Day….but…I just had a lovely brief conversation with my neighbor. He lost his wife to ovarian cancer late last year. He said he was on his way to the cemetery to visit her grave, place flowers, etc. – a practice that many people do not keep around the country but one I’ve seen kept here in New England. We spoke about his daughter who is graduating from college and hopes to follow in her mom’s footsteps and be a teacher.  I was thinking about the daughter (K) who is entering a major milestone in her life, without her mother. I remember graduating from college and clinging to my mom the way my toddler does to me now! My mom was reassuring and encouraging and also with gentle force (is that an oxymoron?) pushed me out into the world….now I’m married, mothering, teaching, and living a pretty good life. Without my mom and her advice, role-modeling, feedback, encouragement, and love I would not have a Ph.D., I would not be married, I would not have a son. She really was my sounding board every step of the way in life. And as the adage goes, my mom always knew best (even if I didn’t admit it until 30 years later!).

I have missed my mom during some milestones because I’ve lost her mind to Alzheimer’s … she was physically present, but missed my wedding, my dissertation defense, the birth of my son, and some other important times when I needed to “go home to mommy.”  I’m happy to still be able to call her and to see her and hug & kiss her. While I long for us to be able to chat the way we used to I’m glad for what I have. I’m also glad to have a plethora of friends who stand in as “mom,” “older sister,” and “aunt” when I need someone’s sage advice.

This is in memory of moms who have passed away, moms who are mentally not here with us, moms who are far away … Appreciate, love, call, hug, kiss, and remember your mom today and every day (because moms are moms every day)!

To the moms, grandmas, aunts, godmothers, sisters, cousins, girlfriends who help to raise children everywhere HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!